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To quote Dannie Dinh, the Special Assistant to the director of International Research Institute for Climate and Society, "Visual art has the power to spark conversations, to envision ideas and concepts, to make the intangible tangible, to inject the issues into our mainstream culture. The science community is trained to find answers and solutions in numbers and figures, but it also faces the challenging task of communicating and relaying scientific findings to policy makers, stakeholders, voters and other nonscientific communities who can pursue policies and actions based on the information." 

This collaboration aims to enable people to access and engage with physics through art and to think about the role physics plays in their lives and the world at large. It provides meaningful creative and intellectual experiences for the general public and for participating artists and scientists. This is a way to bridge local community with UC Santa Cruz and foster innovative exchange between two of Santa Cruz's great cultural strengths—our thriving scientific and artistic communities.

~ Stephanie Bailey, Ph.D.


Local artists were carefully matched with physics faculty or graduate students to work together. This collaboration

  • Inspired exciting art based on scientific ideas

  • Fostered stronger communication skills among our physicists resulting from engagement with a non-specialist. 

  • Challenged our physicists to approach their science in a slightly different way (through the visual arts)

  • Integrated art and science such that they feed back and forth to each other, enriching each other

  • Increased recognition of the mutual benefits of art and science



The outcome of these collaborations was displayed as a group exhibition that invited the public to engage with our physicists and artists. The exhibition was at the R. Blitzer Gallery during the month of March 2019 and was curated by participating artist Tauna Coulson

We held a special opening night reception on Friday, March 1, 2019, 5-9 PM with live music, hors d'oeuvres, and lively discussion.

A panel discussion of participating artists and physicists was held on Saturday, March 16, 2019, 12-2 PM. The public was invited to participate and ask questions.


A percentage of our sales will be donated to the "Artist Teacher Partnership." This partnership brings dance, music, theatre, and visual arts to classrooms by pairing classroom teachers with SPECTRA Teaching Artists. Together, they work to integrate the arts into subjects such as math, science, and history. The goals of the program are:

  • To give students high quality arts instruction, based in arts integration

  • To provide professional development in arts to generalist classroom teachers

  • To develop a culture of value for arts education at the school, and build capacity for sustaining the program


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We gratefully acknowledge (1) Assistant Dean James Moore and the Division of Graduate Studies, (2) Provost Sean Keilen and Porter College, (3) Acting Dean Dave Belanger and the Physical and Biological Sciences Division, (4) Chair Robert Johnson and the Physics Department, and (5) Professor Jennifer Parker and the UCSC OpenLab Research Center for their financial support.

Additionally, we wish to thank

  • Christophe Ivins, cinematographer, for recording the panel discussion

  • Shelby Graham, the Director/Curator of the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery at UCSC, for her assistance

  • Sylvan Music Santa Cruz for lending instrumental display stands for the exhibit

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